Magazine July 30, 2018, Issue

Funding the Family

Joshua T. McCabe
The Fiscalization of Social Policy: How Taxpayers Trumped Children in the Fight against Child Poverty, by Joshua T. McCabe (Oxford University Press, 240 pp., $65)

Since the 1940s, Canada and the United Kingdom have had some type of “family allowance”: Parents unconditionally receive money from the government, either in cash or as a tax credit, simply to reflect the costs of raising children. The United States, despite strong historical ties to both these nations, has no such thing. In the U.S., taxpaying parents can benefit from the child tax credit, but parents poor enough not to owe taxes are left to welfare programs.

The question is why. Two common explanations are that American conservatism is uniquely strong in its objection to anti-poverty spending, and that American

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